Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - Year In Review

What an exciting year, blogspot readers!

It was totally incredible for local (national and international) music ...and for SouthSide! She had quite a busy year in which this fearless reviewer racked up a record breaking 145 shows/events reviewed (it'll be officially 146 after reviewing The Abbey tonight) ...breaking an ankle (same one for the 3rd time) didn't stop her from rockin' and partyin' all night long. She would like to say "thank you" to everyone - fans, bands and management/PR for another wonderful year of indie music.

SouthSide would first like to take a moment in remembering the following band that left the scene this year. They'll be missed but not forgotten:

Let's Get Out Of This Sandwich Shop, Before The Sun (now can be seen as Spyderbone), From The Broken, lo/fi Pioneer, The Syndicate, Nothing Forgotten, The Attraction, The Highlife, Moxxy, Silent Sirens, Inept, reModern and Royal (now can be seen as Villain v Villain)

During 2010, SouthSide went global! She reviewed the following bands that made a long treck across the pond to rock the Chicago music scene as far away as Russia and Australia:

Hypernova (Iran), The Migrant (Denmark), Travis Caudle (Australia), Vera Cruz (France), Crazyfish (Italy), The Jefferson (Australia), A Crush On Yesterday (Germany), Epidema (Russia), Lehnen (Austria), Atari Teenage Riot (Germany), and Diafanes (Brazil).

She hopes they and many others will come back this way in 2011.

Aldo SouthSide reviewed many artists/bands while on their national tour across the U.S.:

Arizona - Strange Young Things; California - Bret Michaels, Mars, 30 Seconds To Mars, The Ruse, Lelia Broussard, Kung Fu Vampire and Secondhand Serenade; Colorado - Coles Whalen; DC - Honor By August; Florida - Miggs (seen them twice); Georgia - Adam Klein; Iowa - Keith Lynch aka Unknown Component; Indiana - Athel, The Energy Commission and The Bergamot; Kentucky - The Slomski Brothers; Massachusetts - The Grownup Noise; Minnesota - Pictures Of Then; Missouri - Mother Culture and Alice Sweet Alice; Nebraska - Once A Pawn; New York - Aaron Zimmer, Ryan Trester, Peelander Z, Shinobi Ninja, Izzy & The Kestronics, My Pet Dragon, Kaylin Lee Clinton, and Sky White Tiger; Ohio - Snareburst, Cowboy & Indian, Dirty Flaggs, and Papadosio; Tennessee - Erin Manning, Brinn Black, Gabriel Kelley and November; Texas - Felili, Ricky Stein (seen twice), Reed Turner, Spencer Mulder, Green River Ordinance, Tim Halprin and Dustin Welch; South Carolina - Mahoney and State Radio; Washington - Brent Amaker & The Rodeo and The Volcano Diary; Wisconsin - Bryan Cherry Band. The Nod, Dawn Of Man and Lucas Cates Band.

Thanks for rockin' the local stages in Chicago - hope to see you again in 2011!

Special thanks to everyone working behind the scenes for keeping SouthSide on her toes (sometimes on a daily basis) with emails (and yes she does read EVERY SINGLE piece of mail in her box), Facebook and Myspace invites, etc about upcoming shows and artists/bands she should give a listen. Also included in this LONG list are those who helped SouthSide have a successful year.

And this heartfelt "thank you" doesn't come in any particular order:

the test audience - Vyolet and Emily (not their real names) for all of the hard work they did listening to CDs and attending shows with SouthSide; Jerry (fiance) for putting up with SouthSide's neverending hectic schedule; Brian, Dave and the cast of many at Elbo Room; Phil and his hardworking staff ...door people too at Double Door; SubT; Joe (SouthSide's super fantastic #1 fan); Reggie's; Shawn Kellner (of Kellner Management); August Forte (of NoVO Arts, Inc.) Leigh (of Sound and Division Music); Chicago Sound Studio; The Branded; Rudy Sarzo, David Fishof and Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp; Cowboy and Angel Music; Chicago Music Guide; Beat Kitchen; Metal Shaker; Debonair Social Club; Aragon Ballroom; Jerry Bryant and JBTV; Angels & Kings; Fearless Radio; Laura (of Syn Vodka); Mike Mentzer; Cubby Bear; Underground Lounge; Martyrs'; The Mutiny; Cobra Lounge; Metro; LaSalle Power Company; Lincoln Hall and Schuba's; Darkroom; Rockbox; Portage Theatre; Park West; SPACE (in Evanston); Empty Bottle; The Exit; Bottom Lounge; House of Blues; Lidia and the fine staff at The Abbey; Target (for keeping SouthSide supplied with notebooks and pens throughout the year); Heavemedia; Cauldron Soundwerx Productions; Misty (Senior Publist of Splash! Public Relations); KMA management; the MANY bands from Reverbnation; Skyscraper Media; Krista (of Skye Media); Erik and everyone at Project Exploration; Window Licker Records; Clint (of MVD Entertainment Group); PVT Records and Management; Rock N Roll Art Show; Urban Folk Circuit; Chicago Roots Collective; Frank Tucker and Saint - the complete novel about SIN will be complete; CHIRP Radio; I AM Fest organizers and staff; Miss Foozie (she's such a darlin' person); Janet's Planet of Sound (cool place for retro videos and more); Flabby Hoffman and his cast of many; Voice Of Addiction; MOB Fest; Chris Drew and art-teez organization; Sushi O Sushi restaurant; Potbelly's (the one on Diversey and Sheffield); Muskie's Hamburgers (for the delicious chips [fries] with salt and pepper only), Gallery 54 B; the hardworking super fans and street teams; Windy City Records...

SouthSide sincerely apologizes if she missed anyone in her LONG "thank you" list ...she does appreciate you too.

See you in 2011!

Until next time, support your local scene,

28 Dec 10

" matter what they tell ya, we're here for fame and fortune..."

Hey, blogspot readers, time to say "good bye" to 2010! But first, SouthSide's spending the last remaining days of her busy calendar checking out what's happening in the local scene. Tonight at Double Door, she's rockin' with Skinwalker at their festive CD Release Holiday Bash. This party also featured hot industrial/metal performances by Illusions Fate, Aeth3r and Fashion Bomb headlining the lineup. Despite enjoying the metal-tastic cover of Wicked Games (ultra hot and seductive within a metal sound), SouthSide felt something was sorely missing from Aeth3r's performance. Not saying she didn't like the band or its music ...she simply couldn't quite "feel" them throughout the set. Unable to put her finger on what was needed, she does suggest working on backing vocal harmonies (which were a little off and sounded like muffled voices over the microphone during Wicked Games). Still there was plenty of head-banging rock and thundering guitar chords as well as powerful falsetto vocals by Aether3r's front man, Chris. For more information about Aeth3r, visit or on

Two months ago, Illusions Fate rocked the Double Door stage with one of their best shows ever reviewed. However that performance didn't rank up there after witnessing tonight's Illusion's set. With a new band lineup (bassist and drummer both on backing vocals), SouthSide wholeheartedly believed this band has finally found its rockin' niche and zeal. The new members not only matched Joel's (front man of the band) vigorous stamina heard within the hardcore industrial sound but also as backing vocalists. She liked how they brought fresh energy to the Illusions's stage presence without diminishing anything from the band's originality. The rip-roaring riffs that excite and thrill were still there but with more umph and power inside the rhythms. This also brought out more dynamic metal sound during the instrumental bridges. While performing Dying Anthem (SouthSide's favorite song) and Numbers, Joel emitted more emotional angst into the lyrics adding depth and feeling into each word. This Illusions Fate set certainly left this reviewer anticipating what this trip has planned for 2011. They will be rockin' the stage again on Feb 1st at Double Door with Bleed For The Fallen and Tryst - the show is FREE. Visit for more details.

Head-banging metal rock that literally peels the flesh off your bones while blasting the ears at the same time - twas the best way to describe Skinwalker's CD release performance, blogspot readers. This band played hard which you could easily as well as instantly hear from the trio of guitars riffs wafting vibrantly amongst the crowded venue. The quintet of musicians had heads bobbing to the thundering beats that started a mini mosh riot. In a nutshell, Skinwalker came ready to rock out Double Door the moment they hit the stage. SouthSide enjoyed the loud thunderous bursts of energy this band produced rockin' the ears with dazzling chord effects. This momentous vibe was quite contagious with nonstop hardcore metal rock yet behind this awesome music, there was charismatic stage presence and deep raspy vocals full of angst by Taran (Skinwalker's front man). Even while slowing the tempo and energy for a ballad-like song, his deep falsettos-screamo combination truly highlighted the emotional pain within the words which also had this reviewer shivering in her seat. SouthSide highly recommends rockin' your 2011 with this metal-thrash shaking band at its next respective show. Visit or

Closing out tonight's rockin' lineup was the ominous thundering percussion beats of Fashion Bomb's heart pounding intro which immediately led into the song, Press Delete. SouthSide found herself totally immersed into the blood-curdling metal/screamo sound of this band ...and she instantly liked it. She even liked Fashion more when the band performed two unplugged versions of Mold and Exsanguinate. It was definitely the highlight of the show that truly defined them as a metal band along with the demonstrating the vocal power by Val (Fashion's front man). SouthSide enjoyed hearing the emotional angst and pain being poured out of his voice into each word. The fiery acoustic accompaniment (provied by Acid) matched his vocal tone note for note especially during Exsanguinate which had a spicy Flamenco guitar sound woven inside the instrumental. Yet what this reviewer didn't enjoy about Fashion Bomb's show was the wild moshing that nearly injured her. Don't worry, blogspot readers, she's not holding that against the band and/or any of it's hardcore fans. Fashion's bouts of explosive energetic vibe from its music certainly had a profound effect on fans to do more than bang the head. SouthSide suggests listening to Veil Of Megiddo (wicked licks with complex religious overtones and thoughts of armageddon), Meek (fans can expect a video for this song coming soon), and Tech Sing (metal-tastic head-banging blast of rock in the ears). Fashion Bomb will kick off their 2011 with a tour and will rock the stage at Reggie's on Feb 20. They will be sharing the stage with good friends Sinister Fate and Sirens In Vein ...advanced tickets for this 17+ show are $10. Visit or for tour details and more.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

January 2011

Happy New Year, blogspot readers!

It's another rockin' year of music, fun and events happening around town ...and you just might find SouthSide there with notepad and pen too!

Jan 1 - Double Door rings in 2011 by featuring local favorite Liquid Soul to its stage. Cover $5.

Jan 3 - The holidays are not over until you attend this Holiday Hangover party, blogspot readers! Breakthrough Audio and Kellner Management presents this rockin' show featuring DJ sets by good friends, Damon Ranger (of Blackbox) and Shawn Kellner (of Kellner Management/Breakthrough Audio). This event will be at Double Door ...RSVP now at to be on the guest list ...otherwise it's $5 after 9p.

Jan 5 - Back at Double Door to see good friends, Luring Thieves and The Plastic Boots rock the stage. Cover $5.

Also performing that same night, another good friend, Dan McGuinness will be rockin' Elbo Room acoustic lounge.

Jan 6 - Schuba's welcomes Carta Marina to its stage for their CD Release show.

Also happening at SubT - Heavemedia rocks the venue with its first show of 2011. It's a launch party for Gig Maven which lets musicians and venues book gigs on online which is used in New York, Los Angeles and now Chicago. The lineup features The Loneliest Monk and Wolf in Spacesuit. Cover $8.

Jan 7 - Head to class at Reggie's Rock Club with The Prep School Tragedy staff and cheerleaders. NO tardy slips will be given this time.

Also Cobalt and The Hired Guns will be headlining Metro's stage!

Jan 13 - Head to Elbo Room with SouthSide for Skytown Riot's rockin' set.

Jan 14 - Plan to attend Chicago's Post Millennium Televised Woodstock at The Abbey! Peace, Love, Happiness as well as ...well you know - smoke 'em if you got 'em, blogspot readers, during this Flabby Hoffman Fest. Should be a shagedelic time.

Jan 15 - The Plastic Boots and PJ's My Cousin Too will be rockin' the Elbo Room stage.

Also check out good friends Aetiology who will be rockin' the stage at Double Door.

Jan 20 - Check out this rockin' lineup hitting the Cubby Bear stage - The Passing, The Frantic and Villain v Villain ...SouthSide plans to attend and you should too!

Jan 21 - At the Empty Bottle, Life and Times, Centaur and Big Science will be there.

Meanwhile, SouthSide will be checking out Jet W Lee when they rock the stage at Cole's (located on N. Milwaukee).

Jan 22 - Wally Dogger invades Beat Kitchen for their CD release show!

Jan 29 - Heavy The Fall and Simplistic Urge make their triumphant return to the music scene at Chicago City Limits (located in Schaumburg, IL)!

SouthSide will be at Metro for The Lifeline and Lucid Ground show before heading to Wise Fool's for Kenosha Brad Cancer Benefit. Come out and support a good cause and friend in need.

Until next time, support your local scene,

26 Dec 10

Twas the day after Christmas ...and the local scene was buzzin' with more holiday spirit! Santa Claus left an extra special gift for all of the lil good rocker girls and boys to unwrap at the Bottom Lounge. This gift, blogspot readers, featured five hot rockin' performances by Athel (from Crown Point, IN), Trainwreck Symphony and The Action Blast with The Passing and Beyond Words opening.

SouthSide highly recommends checking out The Passing ( and Beyond Words ( or at their next respective shows. During The Passing's set, she thoroughly enjoyed the haunting electronica/dark rock sound which was quite explosive (due to keyboard sound fx) for that thunderous feel. At times, this band's music could be symphonic as well as dramatically epic that spotlights the poetic imagery woven inside the lyrics. Performing songs like Simple Things, Stake Out and Friends, this reviewer found herself lost amongst the dynamic vocal power heard from The Passing's front man. Meanwhile Beyond Words rocked the Bottom Lounge with a loud thunderous BOOM pulsating throughout the venue. This band's head-banging rock vibe also highlighted the emotional depth within the front man's vocals even while hitting those unattainable high falsettos. He truly emitted some powerful angst and pain from the words especially during Can You Still Hear Me and My Life. This reviewer also enjoyed the energetic hardcore rock with plenty of wicked electric licks heard at the intrumentals - check out new single, Sunrise. Blogspot readers can expect full reviews on both bands mentioned again in 2011.

Athel's Chicago debut was (in a nutshell) one WILD ...HOT rockin' ride not only of music but also of stage presence. This band (from Crown Point, IN) certainly had this audience feeling its exuberant hardcore energy when the trio burst onto the stage. There was so much to see (watch out for Cameron's swing around with his bass or Justin's wicked fingering behind the next and more) and hear (twitterpating guitar riffs and unexpected chord changes) that this reviewer was quite breathless already from the show. And Athel was barely knee-deep within their opening song, Desperate Question. Then with a head-banging finish, they moved quickly into Paranormal Abstract of Everyday Living (track 2 off their current CD - to society Part II) and Radio (track 1) not lose the momentum vibe that was felt amongst the audience. Athel's song Radio received the biggest response (as well as the others performed) due to the realistic point of view about life and society woven inside the band's lyrics. This trio wowed the ears with plenty of rock music covering all aspects of the genre (from alternative to metal) ...sometimes happening within the same song or at the same time. Even while slowing the tempo down (during Their Shoes and Oceans - SouthSide's favorite off Athel's to society Part I CD), there was still a vibrant head-banging rock to be had until the end. Blogspot readers, check out this rising rock band as they make their debut on the West Coast during NAMM in January 2011 with back to back shows at the world famous Whiskey A GoGo! Plus Athel will be opening the stage at Congress Theatre for Buckcherry on Feb 1st as well as other shows planned throughout 2011. Visit for more information.

Meanwhile, Trainwreck Symphony rocked the Bottom Lounge with its ultra dynamic rock sound in front of a crowd of their diehard fanbase tonight. It's been a long while since SouthSide's last review yet she noticed a few changes occurring within the band and music. Trainwreck added more umph into the core sound such as a hint of Latin rock influence and more guitar riffs give that dark moody music a bit of metal definition. However this reviewer didn't care for the heavy metal-screamo combination during one particular song towards the end of this set. It didn't seem to mesh well for Xavier's vocal style and the band's central music theme though the song did have plenty of energy and sound. Vocally, he also seemed to be straining a little when it came time for the screamo to switch back to his natural voice for singing. SouthSide still enjoyed hearing the depth of emotions and range of falsettos emtting some heartfelt sentiments in the lyrics. She hopes to see more of the lyrical rap venting about the ills of society (as heard in another particular song) incorporated with more of Trainwreck's songs. Blogspot readers are encouraged to check out this local band sometime in 2011 by visiting

Closing out this festive rock show was the explosive blast of music and vocals by The Action Blast. The Bottom Lounge was filled with instanteous hardcore guitar rock which pumped an energetic vibe amongst the audience. During Action's headlining show, there was nonstop head-banging sound but it had moments when the vibrant energy was put on hold to highlight the front man's vocals. SouthSide enjoyed hearing the emotional depth he emitted through the lyrics like in the new song - Final Solution (off upcoming album to be released next week). Hardcore fans will also like the screamo which was intricately woven around the chorus within certain Action songs ...used merely as lyrical emphasis. Plus one could easily get lost amongst the wicked riffs during the instrumentals which does curdle the rock blood flowing in the veins (listen to Only Seconds). SouthSide highly recommends checking out this top unsigned band when they perform at House of Blues on Jan 29. Visit or for more information.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, December 27, 2010

22 Dec 10

"...Santa, if you're listening, I've been naughty..."
Sonic Pistol

Twas two days before Christmas and the local scene was totally buzzin' with sweet rockin' sounds of music. At the annual Window Licker Holiday Bash, the seasonal spirit was alive and in full swing inside the Double Door. Fans were groovin' to tonight's featured performances of hardcore twittering guitar riffs by Bruiser, Sonic Pistol, Ready The Destroyer and Without A Breath. There was also more partying to be had when Paragon and its unique reggae vibe took the stage by storm. SouthSide highly recommends checking out the fantastic island/rock groove that headlined Window Licker's festive show. This reviewer enjoyed the band's explosive sound, energetic rhythms and dynamic vocals. Blogspot readers can expect a full review on Paragon sometime in 2011. Meanwhile visit or for more information and rockin' music.

The holiday show opened with a rockin' BANG by Bruiser's razor sharp guitar sound. Front man Dan (who also produced the new Carta Marina album) pumped the ears with lyrics full of frustration and anger. If one listen closely, they would hear the thoughts and minds of this generation speaking through Bruiser's music. Performing with a new guitarist, there was more head-banging rock and wicked riffs laced deeply inside the instrumentals. SouthSide gives the new addition to Bruiser a few more shows and he'll be rockin' as hard as the other members. This was certainly a wonderful present to unwrap early, blogspot readers, seeing this local band back on stage again. Looking forward to more shows by this lively group of rock musicians. This reviewer highly recommends checking out Bruiser and its explosive yet moody hardcore sound in 2011. Visit for more information.

Next was the blood-curdling, kick arse rock vibe of Sonic Pistol on stage. What SouthSide liked about this band was the charismatic and expressive body movement by front man Kurt. His type of stage showmanship created such emotional sentiment on the lyrics ...and though his screamo may not be gut-busting to the ears, it's quite effective especially during Load. Performing others including 9 Miles To Empty (SouthSide's favorite due to Kurt's dynamic vocal power in each word) and ballads, Redline and Disappear, Sonic rocked the Double Door stage (also with a new guitarist) with one of their best shows ever reviewed. There was more umph and electric power heard within this band's rock sound. Blogspot readers are encouraged to check out Sonic Pistol in 2011 by visiting for more information.

Already working on a follow-up CD to current one, Division and Distance (read the album review in the 20 Dec 10 - CD Review blog), Ready The Destroyer gave the Double Door audience one heck of a mind-blowing experience of sight and sound. This local duo packed a powerful punch of rock music which was accompanied by a projection of random images running in sync with each song. SouthSide found herself drawn deeper into Ready's lyrics within songs like Perfect Blues and Disconnected (SouthSide's favorite) from the use of projected pictures. Plus the band's eclectic rock sound highligted the emotional and depth heard from Neill (front man on guitar) while on vocals. Hearing as well as seeing both picture and music gave this reviewer a clearer understanding ...more thought provoking vibe than simply listening to the songs off the CD. As she mentioned earlier - it was a mind-blowing experience and suggests that blogspot readers check out Ready The Destroyer in 2011. Visit or for more information.

Without A Breath continued with tonight's central theme yet featured some explosive vocal power by Seth (front man on guitar) besides music. What set this band apart from the others was the emotionally charged voice heard in songs like Won't Be Long and Wake Me Up. It contained plenty of rock falsettos while he poured a lot of himself into the words can literally hear the frustration behind Without's rockin' hardcore guitar riffs. Even during The Last One (dedicated to Window Licker's expectant dad, Chris Parker), SouthSide thoroughly enjoyed the vibrant yet heartfelt energy given to this ballad. Meanwhile new single, Wake Up The Dead (off upcoming album to be released at the end of January) rocked the stage with a dark, haunting tone found inside Without's guitar riffs though this reviewer suggests more mic for the bassist's backing vocals (couldn't be heard above the music). It's highly recommended that blogspot readers check out Without A Breath in 2011 by visiting or

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

20 Dec 10

"...I'm Smooth Lou ...I'm unemployed and live with my parents..."

Season's Greetings, blogspot readers! It's a snowy night ...just the perfect weather to set the mood for this extra special holiday-bration. Rockin' the Double Door stage was the lineup of the 1st Annual Treaty Of Paris & Friends Holiday Party. This free festive extravaganza featured Treaty's long list of "friends" of the local scene such as Ryan Powers, Super Happy Fun Club, State and Madison and Jerome Holloway - to name a few. The venue itself was even sporting a brightly decorative look for the occasion as each performer (or group) took the stage for a 2 to 3 song set. And though there was a stric time limit, the crowd was thoroughly given a sample of what's rockin' the stages nighly around town. Plus football fans didn't miss one second of the Bears versus Vikings game - there was a big screen projecting the hometown's division clinching win over Favre and company.

Opening the long lineup of "Friends" for this holiday party was the acoustic performance by Mike Pictrus (and his special guest) featuring two original holiday songs. Soon it was followed by Ronny Robinson who impressed this reviewer with his heartfelt yet emotionally deep originals during his performance. Next Smooth Lou rocked the stage with his Bobby McFerrin-Biz Markie vocal set that featured cover songs Blackbird and Come Together (Beatles). He certainly wowed the crowd with his version of War's Low Rider with a bit of Dee Lite's Groove's In the Heart. Fans can follow this artist on Twitter. The mellow acoustic sound supporting the docile falsettos of Jerome Holloway cam afterwards. SouthSide enjoyed listening to the personal thoughts and feelings from this artist as heard within his 2-song performance.

The somber mood quickly switched to an upbeat swing when Dan (of This Is Me Smiling) came onto the stage. SouthSide enjoyed the light whimsical humor cleverly woven inside the lyrics within a vibrant acoustic sound. Then Scott Sweeney gave the crowd a mellow yet with profound vocal energy during his acoustic set. The acoustic sound brought out the dynamic power of his voice and heartfelt lyrics. Meanwhile Ryan Powers rocked the stage with his acoustic set full of energy which truly highlighted his vocal talent. Dan Wade (on acoustic) and Mike (front man of Treaty Of Paris) joined Ryan at the end of his set for Be My Baby Tonight. Alex (bassist for Treaty Of Paris) impressed this reviewer with a vocal combination of natural and falsettos bringing out the emotional depth heard within his originals of ballads. He was followed by Last Fast Action and more deep emotions inside this band's front man's vocals especially during the song, You Need To Know.

The duo representing AM Taxi rocked the crowd with an original holiday song as well as a couple of lively acoustic ones including the punk cover, Surrender (Cheap Trick). SouthSide enjoyed how they flipped the punk rock sound for something mellower yet energetic. State and Madison's semi-acoustic performance impressed this reviewer with upbeat tempos and powerfully deep falsettos in the vocals. SouthSide's looking forward to doing a full review on this band sometime in 2011. Meanwhile Super Happy Fun Club opened their quick set with Generation under a vibrant aura of keyboard and drum rhythms. This crowd rocked to the dynamic alternative vibe full of melodic energy. Closing out this rockin' holiday show was Treaty Of Paris that featured a semi-acoustic/alternative setting. Their fans grooved to this popular band's instanteous vibe of swingin' upbeat tempos as well as sang along to their favorite tunes.

What a holiday party, blogspot readers! SouthSide's looking forward to next year's shindig.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

20 Dec 10 - CD Review

Happy Holidays, blogspot readers!

Still looking for some last minute ideas as stocking stuffers? Check out the following CDs highly recommended by SouthSide.


SouthSide found this CD laying around ER waiting for her snag it before someone else did. And she's quite happy that she did! November's Sugarfree CD bursted onto SouthSide's speakers with a vibrant combination of guitar rock/electronic pop groove. She even didn't mind hearing a little hardcore screamo as heard during the title track - Sugarfree (it certainly popped with plenty of energy off the wicked electric solo during the instrumental bridge). This CD consisted of catchy riffs/chords, harmonzing vocals (this reviewer recommends listening to tracks 1 - Plain View, 5 - Coma and 7 - Imagination) and lots of unforgettable lyrics which immediately had SouthSide singing along (especially during opening track Plain View it's her favorite). She also suggests taking a wild ride on November's Rollercoaster (track 9) - hang on tight while this band zips with fast tempo on the verses before the twists, turns and loops of the chorus. It's a whirlwind ride of spiral rockin' sound ...what a rush, blogspot readers. If you live in the Nashville area, SouthSide highly suggests seeing November perform on stage at their next show.

Division and Distance
Ready The Destroyer

This local duo, Ready The Destroyer, can rock any stage like a full 4 or 5-piece rock band with its loud guitar sound. Now they took that same vibe and placed it on a 7-track CD titled Division and Distance. SouthSide enjoyed RTD's rockin' cross of hardcore/pop-alternative music ...plenty of energy heard in each song throughout this CD with wicked crescendos off the guitars and smokin' hot drum rhythms. What she liked most about RTD's album was the personal yet heartfelt emotions put into the lyrics. At times, they read like sound words of advice (track 1 - Chance and track 2 - Boats & Bridges) meanwhile in other songs, this reviewer was reading pages out of Neill's (front man on guitar/bass and vocals) journal entries (track 4 - Disconnected and track 6 - Perfect Blues). One can clearly hear the frustration and/or anger emitted via the words from Neill's voice without having their ears drowned in hardcore screamo. Ready The Destroyer will be rockin' the stage at Double Door this Wednesday (Dec 22) as part of Window Licker's Holiday Show featuring Paragon, Without A Breath and Bruiser - it's a FREE event.

The Volcano Diary

SouthSide wishes to thank her good friend, August Forte, for another fine suggestion. And now she highly recommends blogspot readers checking out the melodic pop rock Seattle's own The Volcano Diary and its self-titled CD. This reviewer enjoyed the docile songtress vocal styling by Alicia sweetly heard through the speakers which immediately caught this reviewer's attention during track 1 - Revival. This artist totally captured the mood and essence of the lyrics behind the soothing lull of the guitars and rhythmic beats playing. Yes, you can say SouthSide was thoroughly impressed from what she heard thus far. Moving right along to a mix of upbeat tempos to semi-acoustic/alternative and ballads, this reviewer found herself having a difficult time choosing which song or songs to spotlight for this review. All 9 tracks were quite noteworthy keeping SouthSide's head rockin' to the mellow yet at times meditative sound by Volcano (especially during track 4 - Pacifica). She does recommend immersing the ears into the dynamic but powerful presentation of Alicia's vocals in track 5 - Cloud Cover. Hopefully, sometime in 2011, SouthSide will have the extreme opportunity in reviewing a live performance by The Volcano Diary.

As added bonus especially just for you, blogspot readers - this is a special holiday gift to you from the fine people of Grape Juice Records. And guess what, it's FREE! SouthSide suggests checking out the 2nd Annual Family & Friends compliation which showcases music from all the bands GJ has worked with over the year. Some of the artist have included good friends Jon Drakes & The Shakes, The Shams Band and The MPLS Henrys as well as Julie Meckler, Musikanto and Rambos - just to name a few. Remember the compliation is FREE and can be found here: -

Until next time, support your local scene,

18 Dec 10

Hey, blogspot readers, more rockin' around the holiday tree! Saturday night's adventure took this fearless reviewer to a quiant Irish pub/venue - The Abbey for Strange Arrangement's 3rd Annual Holiday Party. This rockin' shindig also featured performances by Land of Atlantis and UV Hippo. SouthSide suggests checking out the lively funk-tastic sounds and rhythmic groove of Fresh Hops. She enjoyed this band's unique twist on the Jazz-Blues combination having lots of soul which included one heck of a rhythm section (percussions, keyboards and saxophone) and violin. This string instrument (the star attraction of Fresh Hops, in SouthSide's opinion) provided some cool breeze to this band's hot groove while the keyboards kept the edgy three-guitar sound mellow but energetic. The music itself was breathtaking especially during classical-inspired song done in a waltz tempo yet performed with a modern neo-Jazz tone. It was also passionate with Fresh's gradual crescendo rises within the tempo and rhythms ...and coupled with the lighting fx - the stage seemed to be pulsating at the same speed and direction of the music. Visit Fresh Hops at for more information about this band and its music.

Continuing with the central theme of the night, Land Of Atlantis rocked the stage under a thunderous burst of neo-Jazz yet with an edgier rock sound than Fresh Hops. The song, Alley Cat, kicked off this band's set with an aura of smokin' but sublte Blues tone like a cat stalking the dark alley ways. SouthSide enjoyed hearing the lively passion woven throughout each of Land's rhythmic tempo and sound. This rockin' sound has a little bit of everything for every eclectic musical taste - from Jazz to rock and between. During one particular song, the audience grooved to a Caribbean/Island flavor and then to a classic Stax/funk sound. Even while closing this performance with an eclectic mesh of neo-Jazz and romantic ballad, Land's left everyone ready for more. SouthSide highly recommends checking out this band and its energetic instrumental groove in 2011. Visit or for more information about this band and future show dates.

Featuring more electronic than the other bands within their neo-Jazz rock combination, Strange Arrangement warmed up the chilly venue with its rockin' rhythmic sound. One extra thing also sets this band apart from the others - Strange's lyrical prose. Though the words might be few, one can still hear the poetry flowing vibrantly inside the music. Coincidentially, this band's eclectic music fueled that energetic vibe wafting throughout The Abbey's so instanteous that their fans felt it upon hearing the burst of guitars and keyboards combined. this was one electronic holiday Jam celebration, blogspot readers, in which many grooved nonstop especially when Strange performed the popular, Front Porch. The wicked Stax guitar sound mixed with a lively techno vibe gave this crowd a brief taste of summertime to dance away the winter cold. In another particular song, the crowd continued dancin' to an 80s pop/electronic feel that contained sharp tempo and rhythm changes (lil surprises hidden in this one as well as others). SouthSide enjoyed Strange's futuristic music resonating very well against the fantastic lighting fx sequences. This reviewer highly suggests checking out the hip and happening of the now within electronic-modern Jazz/rock scene by Strange Arrangement. Visit or for more information and when this band's rockin' again in 2011.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Monday, December 20, 2010

17 Dec 10

"...don't ever break your wrist..." ~ Blue Eyed Jesus

Hey, blogspot readers, let's rock around the holiday tree! After a week of seasonal parties with friends, SouthSide's latest adventure brought her back to Elbo Room. Tonight's holiday fun was sponsored by songtress Erin Manning (from Nashville, TN) and local guys Blue Eyed Jesus.

Opening the set with a haunting piece, Erin Manning captivated the audience with a dynamic yet powerful emotional voice under a backdrop of smooth piano rhythms. This songtress poured every bit of herself into the lyrics which brought out her chanteuse-like falsetto vocals during certain songs. For example, You're A Monster was a dark ballad with the piano rhythms accompanying the tone and mood of Erin's voice. Yet, in SouthSide's opinion, the song would have faired better if paired with an acoustic guitar to bring out the dark tempo - the piano made it too childishly playful. Despite performing a short set, Erin did impress the audience as well as this reviewer with her music but needs to work on providing stronger song finishes rather than abrupt piano "ta dah". SouthSide suggests checking out the songtress Erin Manning at her next performance. Visit or for more informantion.

It's been a LONG while since SouthSide first reviewed this band and its eclectic rock sound. Blue Eyed Jesus made a triumphant return after a long absence from the stage. Though a bit rusty, the audience was treated to a rock performance full of edgy guitar hooks within BEJ's unique music and sound. SouthSide still enjoyed the energy permeating from the band's wicked electric licks and heart-thumping bass rhythm. Such rockin' sound had many heads groovin' to the rhythmic beat during songs Hey Beautiful, Lazy with You, and Long Hard Nights. It's not right to categorize BEJ and its core rock sound since they cover a wide range of genres ...sometimes intertwining them together. For example, there's a bit of hardcore/psychedelic with a funk bass groove in Velvet Years (the guitar riffs and smokin' hot drum solo will blow your ears away) meanwhile in Many Moons one will enjoy the dramatic intro before hitting the face with an upbeat allegro yet steady tempo (SouthSide liked the haunting vibe which matched the vocals). BEJ's closing song, Good News, featured a fantastical sound during the instrumental as well as burst of rockin' guitar riffs. SouthSide highly suggests checking out this local band in 2011. Visit for more information when they're rockin' the stage again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

12 Dec 10 - Urban Folk Circuit

"...bring[ing] an old-fashioned awareness to a hip, urban market..."

Hey, blogspot readers, not even a blustery winter afternoon could stop this rare On The Town outting. SouthSide's latest adventure had her at Elbo Room earlier than usual for the Urban Folk Circuit. This free series of craft market-style vending was created as a way to promote local artisans as well as the neighborhood bar venues. Besides browsing the many vendors on tap with their handmade crafts and art, there was also live acoustic entertainment rockin' the stage by Rachel Katzman, Sleepy Lou, Steve Sebby and The Jonas Friddleman.

The central themes of "recycle, reuse and renew" and natural products were the main focus with many of the items on display for purchase. For instance, Rachel Wiandt's booth had a lovely array of fragrant (natural) soy candles (which burns cleaner than paraffin-waxed candles) and soaps (try the gingerbread man) while another booth had VHS and album art (used/old videotapes and vinyl records turned into decoratively painted piece of art). SouthSide's good friend, Madame Platypus ( had a booth full of elaborately designed cards and screenings to vintage-like jewelry with whimsical sayings or quotes. One booth during this event caught this reviewer's eye was the handmade cords (for guitars) by Cordinated. Owner Juli Sherry explained how she used 100% wool yarn to wrap around the cables which will tangle and/or twist less while rockin' the stage. Visit for more product information.

Across from the Cordinated booth, there were vendors selling knitted bottle warmers (out of Peruvian wool) and handmade items (dish towels, aprons etc) for the kitchen as well as Corinne Niessner and her display of doggie knitwear. The author of the book, Doggie Knits, Sweaters and Accessories for Your Best Friend, had samples of her custom work which would would your beloved pooch stylishly warm this winter. Each doggie knitwear is custom measured and fit to the shape and size of your dog and her items can be found locally at select retail shops. On certain weeknights, Corinne also holds knitting classes at a local shop - email her at or visit for more information. SouthSide also recommends checking out the cute handmade Smonster softies (toys) and hats by Shady Sparks. You can even decorate your holiday tree with wee ones too! Visit for more product information.

Besides handmade craft items, there were unique pieces of handcrafted jewelry - rings, pendants, earrings etc - to spice up any wardrobe look. One booth, Something Beautiful, had a display of two-sided bracelets and pendants (as an example). Other pieces included intricately designed patterns and symbols as well as sports insignias to show support for your favorite teams. Visit for more product information as well as to check out the handmade soy teacup candles and soap. SouthSide also recommends checking out the beautiful handcrafted jewelry items by Jasmin Mitchell. Her pieces were mostly done in semi-precious stones, wood, shells (and other natural materials) as well as recycled leather for cuffs and silverplated. Currently she's trying her hand and design skills with metal for her latest line of jewelry wear. When asking this artisan what's the inspiration behind her designs, Jasmin stated the inspirations come from the materials, stones and whatever moves her to create. Visit for more product information.

Don't worry, blogspot readers, if you missed this edition of the Urban Folk Circuit ...another one will be happening again in January 2011 at Reggie's with more live local music to accompany your shopping experience. Visit or email for more information.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, December 10, 2010

09 Dec 10

"...that's it merch but the boys are for sale..."

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide found some good apples especially for you. Not to eat but to rock your ears! Tonight, she's backed at Elbo Room to see local group, Good Apples, rockin' the stage with an unique blend of alternative/psychedelic/retro rock sound. Yet after watching their performance, this reviewer discovered it's not truly fair to box these Apples into any particular genre or two. Here's why.

After a lively upbeat song to kick off Apples' set, the music took an unexpected twist during the second song. It had this fantastical mesh of (The Beatles) mystery train sound with a (Jefferson Airplane) white rabbit feel - very dark and moody ...quite creepy as well as hauntingly trippy. Add the wild lighting effects (which played a major role during Apples' performance), the audience was falling deeper into Underland of a steady guitar/bass riff leaving probably if not most in a deep inside a space high. Whew - the crashing end brought everyone back to reality ...somewhat. Still that's merely a taste of what was experienced and heard from Good Apples. They certainly kept this reviewer on the edge of her seat (and toes) throughout not knowing what little surprises will happen next. For example, in another particular song, SouthSide was blown away by the wicked hardcore thumping chord while in another there was a profound sense of poetry laced inside the lyrics - very deep and thought provoking. Metal chords abound during the rockin' Metal Man before moving into a metal-psychedelic crossover with punk rock in the next.

As Good Apples closed their Elbo Room set, SouthSide had thoroughly enjoyed her trip into this band's eccentric rock sound. There's no real classification that could perfectly describe this group's unique and particular musical tastes. They simply rocked out the Lakeview venue with a bit of everything and still had enough room for more, blogspot readers. Good Apples is the type of band with a sound you have to hear preferrably live (with the amazing lighting effects). Visit for more information.

Until next time, support your local scene,

08 Dec 10

"...I'm sporty spice with pink boots..." ~ Coles Whalen

Hey, blogspot readers, it's a double dose of Hump Day rock shows! Tonight, this busy reviewer's spreading more holiday warmth during her latest adventure around town. First, it's Elbo Room to check out a songtress from Denver, Coles Whalen, and her opening set. Then it's another mad dash to River North's Angels & Kings for hardcore metal by Mara and A Beautiful Nightmare.

Coles Whalen - she's the songtress of heartfelt lyrical prose. That's how SouthSide would describe the marvelous acoustic performance this artist had recently at Elbo Room. This reviewer enjoyed the simplicity of the lyrics (sung with tender sentiment and/or fiery spunk) within her songs as well as the lively inconsistent mix of genres heard throughout the set. Don't worry, blogspot readers, the inconsistency was a good thing in which captivate not only the audience but this reviewer. After warming up the audience with the ballad, So It Is (track 6), Coles had them in the palm of her hand ...better yet, the sound of the spicy yet vibrant waves of Country during Whistle Stop (track 2 off her The Whistle Stop Road Record). SouthSide was delighting attentively on how her voice would change within the dynamics of this song (along with others performed) to fit the upbeat tempo before moving into another ballad - These Small Things (off Coles' upcoming album). Another fine example would be listening to to her sultry Blues vocal tone in Wake Up Easy or that feisty spunk found in the song Go Child (track 1). During the middle of Wake Up Easy, this artist related a funny tidbit about how she slightly improvised on the lyrics (changing it to "...wake up easy makin' lunch...") while performing at a middle school. Also noteworthy off Coles' current CD, listen to track 5 - Wrecking Ball and track 8 - Average 20 Something. Plus off the upcoming new album coming out sometime March 2011, blogspot readers can expect to hear the toe-tappin' Drinking Song and Can't Treat Me Bad which rocked out Coles' opening performance. SouthSide highly recommends catching Coles Whalen next live set - her songs and voice certainly connected with this Chicago audience within a lively rhythmic tempo. Visit or for more information.

"...get some (ear)plugs if you value your ears..." ~ Mara

Now, SouthSide's at Angels & Kings for another weekly edition of the One Man(no) Show. Tonight's theme was hardcore screamo/metal rock performances featuring Mara with A Beautiful Nightmare headlining.

This was serious headbanging, energetic metal/screamo rock, blogspot readers, that melted the microphone. Blood curdling guitar riffs and throaty lyrical screams wafted throughout the short Mara performance. SouthSide enjoyed the eclectic yet interesting mix of metal and digital voiceover programming (off the keyboard) heard within certain parts of this band's songs. Performing songs such as Zombie Tea Party, Losing Touch and Formation, this reviewer liked the thundering momentum despite the tight constraint on stage in which held back Mara's vibrant excitedness to a minimum. She knows if given the chance this rockin' metal band could do more damage when truly releasing their inner rock demons amongst the audience. There wasn't much room on the Angels & Kings' stage for them to mosh around without the fear of falling off while performing. SouthSide highly suggests listening to Mara's mesh of electro-techno rhythms and hardcore sound in the song Rooms; the heated anger of the gut-busting scream in Withered; and the thundering guitar rock of Sin of All Sins. Mara will be rockin' again at Reggie's Rock Club on Dec 19 ...and she forewarned newbies now - be sure to grab a pair of plugs or face a metal blast of rock for days! Grab a copy of their free CD too. Visit for more information.

A Beautiful Nightmare continued the loud thunderous theme of the screamo/metal rock theme which blasted every eardrum within its stage reach. However this band added more of a fast heart-thumping guitar sound off three guitars and headbanging action to their set. And just like their friends, Mara, this band would truly be more animated if given a larger stage to mosh about while performing their rockin' set. After a fantastic opening to catch everyone's attention, ABN rocked out the River North venue with an angered anti-religious/dogma rant in I Don't Want To Go To Church Today. Obviously no one would be attending any services not after the way Michael (ABN's front man on vocals) lyrically screamed over the microphone in which he vividly conveyed the tempered mood of the lyrics. Also check out You're Worth More Than Gold (don't be fooled by the calm lull in the intro merely a prelude before a wicked blast of guitars and drums) and Therapist(blogspot readers, not your ordinary "on the couch" therapy session as Michael seriously inserts himself emotionally into this song). Despite this being a short performance, ABN packed a lot of metal rock action that totally kicked arse with a crash-spectacular ending to keep SouthSide's ears ringing for a couple of days! This reviewer highly recommends all screamo/metal fans visiting for your own personal and daily dose of rockin' music by this local band as well as information on when and where the screams will be melting the stage again.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

04 Dec 10

Hey, blogspot readers, it's a snowy rockin' Saturday night! This reviewer's busy hitting the streets ...spreading a bit of holiday cheer at two hot shows. First she's checking out good friends Sutured Psyche and Beneath The Stares performing at Metal Shaker. Then, she's making a mad dash to Elbo Room to see headlining band Alice Sweet Alice (from Kansas City, MO) rock out the stage with their "electropostpunkadelic" sound.

Sutured Psyche was already in full swing rockin' the stage when SouthSide arrived at the Northwestside bar. Though taking a quick break to fix broken strings, this band performed another thrilling ...exciting hardcore rock show for its audience. However, (and though no fault of the band's own), this reviewer felt the opening set was good. The acoustics inside Metal Shaker, in her honest opinion, didn't have the proper the sound quality thus hampering Sutured's energetic headbanging rock vibe. Still she enjoyed the unique vocal style (by charismatic front man William) that wowed the ears with emotion and dynamic power (listen to The Leap and Trickster - he truly puts a lot of himself emotionally into these songs). The rawness heard deep inside his voice highlighted the realistic and personal sentiment within Sutured's lyrics. SouthSide also highly suggests listening to Kelso's Army and the wicked guitar riffs of Clarity. Start 2011 with a rockin' BANG as Sutured Psyche celebrates an anniversary on Jan 7 at Goose Island or Jan 29 at Elbo Room. Visit or for more information.

Moving into the other end of the rock spectrum, Beneath The Stares delighted this audience with a solid performance of dark hardcore poetry. Despite what SouthSide mentioned earlier in this review about the acoustics, she still enjoyed the thundering epic sound heard within this band's songs as well as haunting chanteuse-like voice by Lisa (though hearing more of the music than the vocals). BTS rocked the stage under an aura of fiery energy and passion not only in the guitar riffs but in the lyrics too, blogspot readers. After opening their set with Guilty Bystander, this band (finally) premiered their epic song triology known as Tropic of Cancer. Three different versions of the same song neither were sounding like the other lyrically and musically ...absolutely demonstrating how versatile this group can be. For instance, Part 1 played out as a hardcore metal piece full of wicked riffs and shape-shifting chords. Meanwhile Part 2 opened with a calming lull before blasting the audience with a headbanging rock sound. Lastly, Part 3 concluded this epic piece with a downtempo ballad though darker and more dynamic than the other two parts. After that breathtaking triology, BTS rocked out the audience with other songs that included new one, Foraging for a Plan and band theme Beneath the Stares. The highlight of this set was their cover of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit - still having the drug-metaphor psychedelic 60s feel yet more epic with the BTS sound. This reviewer highly recommends getting familiar with the dark epic yet poetic rock of Beneath The Stares in 2011. Visit or for more information.

...Guess we're no longer in Kansas...

Hey, blogspot readers, SouthSide's now at Elbo Room just in time to check out the rockin' as well as eclectic music of Alice Sweet Alice (cool Brooke Shields movie reference for a band name). From Kansas City, this band brought its blend of "electro" (off the keyboard) and "postpunkadelic" (off the guitars and drums) sound for a late-night performance. This reviewer enjoyed the lively kick heard within the edgy rock sound ...the bursts of energy instantly grabbed her attention inside the epic feel within each Alice song. At times, there was a fiery essence wafting from the guitar riffs and Ali Kat's vocals sparking that energetic vibe and momentum. Yet during the other times, SouthSide felt the crisp chill of the haunting momentum and rhythmic groove when Scott (on bass) took lead on vocals. This also brought out the dark psychedelic side of Alice's music to light ...more vibrant with a steady heart-pounding metal chords. Enthralled by the band's darkness, SouthSide rocked to songs such as Legends and Ambola (off Alice's current CD). She also suggests checking out Flight of Tonight and set closer Weeping Lily (a rockin' BANG of hard hitting riffs and dynamic vocals by Ali). SouthSide was thoroughly impressed by Alice's Chicago debut even though having some minor technical difficulties, blogspot readers, and she hopes they make a return appearance (or more) again in 2011. Visit or for more information.

Until next time, support your local scene,

Friday, December 3, 2010

03 Dec 10 - CD Review

Hey, blogspot readers, give the gift of music as a holiday stocking stuffer! SouthSide highly recommends snagging the following CD when it's released on Dec 9th.

It's a rockin' hoedown happening between SouthSide's ears while she previewed May You Never by local indie group, Dastardly. This 7-track album had a lively, energetic sound off the eclectic groove of the band's Americana/Folk/Alternative music. Dastardly popped the senses with a smorgasbord of sound from an array of orchestral instruments (ie banjo, cello, accordion, etc) in which had her toes tappin' to the rhythmic beat. SouthSide recently reviewed their vibrant opening set which rocked out the Metro stage. And this reviewer was literally floored that the same energy and sound translated very well off the stage onto Dastardly's debut CD.

Recorded at Gallery of Carpet Studios by Brian Zieske (who also worked with local rockers Bailiff and Pet Lions) and mixed by Paul Klimson (who also did The Roots and John Legend), May You Never delighted not only SouthSide but her test audience (Vyolet, 17 and Sunday, 8). They enjoyed The Beatles-esque sounds of the instrumental heard at the end of the opening track, Villian that was soon followed by the lively Exercise in Self Loathing (track 2). Besides the burst of vibrant Dastardly music, this reviewer liked the simplistic as well as heartfelt emotional sentiment within the lyrics. The words (especially in track 6 - Morning Blue) were deep and somewhat personal in which the harmonizing vocals captured very well even while singing acapella.

SouthSide strongly suggests checking out Dastardly live in person when they take over Schuba's Dec 9th for their May You Never CD release show. Brought to you by, the lineup will also feature good friends Chaperone and Glittermouse with Jared Bartman.

Visit for more information about the band.

Visit 12-09-2010 Dastardly Record Release @Schubas for ticket info.

Until next time, support your local scene,